Monday, December 14, 2015


Sierra my barista and the gluten-free bakery behind her
9:am Pacific Time. Portland OR_12.14.2015

Dearest Readers,
#1. Meet Sierra, the barista at TULA my favorite NE Portland neighborhood coffee shop, serving all gluten-free luscious pastries and earthy coffees.  It's sunny, welcoming and fresh inside. An excellent local coffee shop and cafe was top priority on my list of places and services to find…and Portland does not disappoint!

I found three other cafes nearby that served great brew, listed here in order of best to least favorite, but all excellent and within a 15 minute walk from home.
The Albina Press_N Albina Ave, Portland 

#2: The Albina Press–Great brew, and nice pastries, but nothing that was gluten free on the days I went there. (I’m not allergic, but I’ve found lately that ingesting wheat makes my tummy swell. I’m a bread addict, so this discovery is painful.) The Albina Press has nice outdoor benches with tiny built in coffee rests and a cozy interior with art shows on the walls–
The Albina Press inside-warm and comfortable

but the recorded music is too loud. It always drives me outdoors, even on rainy days. 

Ristretto Roasters on N Williams Avenue, Portland_Grandson Henry's hand on Dad's lap 

#3: Ristretto Roasters–Excellent, excellent coffee, but no gluten free items available the days I went there. The space is slick, sunny and swank. Maybe a little too open and hard edged for me---The atmosphere strikes me as industrial-modern and expensive, but serving delicious joe.
Extract Coffee Roasters_NE Prescott Ave, Portland
#4: Extracto-Excellent coffee, but a long wait for it, and loud music. All coffee at Extracto is a “pour-over”, which means they individually prepare a single drip cup of coffee for you. In my case, it’s a decaf Americano. 
Barista making Pour Over drip coffee at Extracto 

Preparation involved several steps that confused me and took forever.  
Fanciful dragon and monkey mural at Extracto

Luckily the interior was cozy and downscale, with paintings on the walls, and cute repurposed school desks and benches (pews?) for seating.

I’m establishing my new life in Portland by finding anchors, and navigating the neighborhood on foot and in my car, scouting out essential stores and service providers–like a vet for Etta (my aging pooch), a hairdresser for me, a spiritual community, a bank, a drug store, a daily exercise regimen, an artist center, and a nearby supermarket that I can walk to. I’ve zeroed in on most of these. More exploration adventures to come.

The best...and so close to home!

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